So you want to plan a trip, but aren’t sure where to start?
Have no fear! Sarah’s travel tips are here!
- Do your research!!!
Most important tip!! Do your research!
Everyone has their own method for researching destinations, but I prefer to ask friends who have traveled to the destination and purchase travel books. Some of my favorite travel books are Rick Steves, Frommer’s, and Let’s Go. I like travel books because they are comprehensive resources that are easy to pack, plus WiFi may be unreliable but you can always read a book 🙂
(Note: Great thing about travel books is that most key attractions do not change location/hours of operation/prices, so even an expired book will do the trick)
- Consider all forms of transportation
When planning your mode of transportation, consider your time, finances and purpose for traveling. Are you in a hurry to get to your destination? Do you have a tight budget? Do you want to see the country side? Do you want to travel in comfort? These are all questions to ask yourself.
Remember that sometimes air travel is actually the cheaper mode of transportation, especially when traveling in Europe. Easy Jet and Ryan Air are two of the airlines I use when traveling in Europe. (Note: Double check the airport location for Ryan Air destinations…in certain cities the airport is on the outskirts of town)
While in a city, try to use multiple forms of transportation. Walk to a nearby restaurant, hail a cab, and take the metro with local residents.
**Make sure to check with train and bus companies for child, student, and senior discounts.**
- Pack light
Make sure to not over pack. You’re going to buy souvenirs, and ladies, you know you’re going to buy new outfits. I purposefully pack less clothes because I know I will find an outfit that I “must” have.
Try using a hiking backpack and packing portable duffel bags (To see a great one REI sells, click here)
- Notify your banks and credit card companies
If you are traveling outside of your home country, notify your bank and credit card companies! Even if you are traveling extensively outside of your home state/province, notify your bank and credit card companies!
Trust me, I made the mistake of not notifying my bank, and I had to use a pay phone in the middle of the English countryside which cost a lot of pounds and a lot of valuable time.
- Download useful travel apps
There are a number of great apps that you can use while you travel:
– WorldMate : Need an all-in-one app to organize your travel plans? WorldMate is an app that will help you organize your itinerary, track flights, search for hotels, monitor weather, calculate tips, convert currency, etc.
– Postagram : Want to send postcards, but don’t want to bother finding a post office? Use postagram to send physical postcards (made from pics on your phone) to your loved ones. Typically only costs 99 cents, and that’s including the US postage cost.
– Whatsapp : Stay in touch with loved ones via Whatsapp. This app allows you to chat (for free!), send pictures and videos, and share your location.
- Make a flexible itinerary (and print it!!)
When planning your trip, create flexible schedules. You may want to linger at a museum, there might be a bus strike, meals may take longer than expected, etc.
And call me old-fashioned, but I always print off my itinerary. Reality is that you can’t always depend on Internet access, so a printed copy is vital.
(Note: A printed itinerary is also useful for passport check points since some countries require a lodging address)
- Take lots of pictures
Take lots and lots of pictures. Edit and sort through them when you return home. Make sure to pack extra chargers, batteries, memory cards, and film (for you old-school photographers).
- Enjoy your surroundings
Relax! You’re on vacation! Enjoy your surroundings, take a break from your phone and e-mails, and live in the moment!! Take time to swing on a porch swing, stroll down the street, and talk to locals.
Have fun and enjoy your travels!